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Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

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Gamespot is reporting that Atari will divest itself of game maker Cryptic Studios.

 

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6314183.html

 

Atari revealed the planned divestiture in its full-year financial report, with Cryptic's impact on the bottom line filed under the "discontinued operations" section of Atari's report. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, Atari reported that Cryptic lost a total of €5.3 million ($7.5 million). That was an improvement over the prior year, when Cryptic launched both Star Trek Online and Champions Online, and Atari had the studio down as losing €12.6 million ($17.8 million).

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

Minimal. Atari is going to want tens of millions for Cryptic.

Cryptic is the only part of Atari's operations that is making any money at all. Turbine would be interested in Cryptic for its D&D game, and it might settle their disagreement with Atari. And Champions Online is still making money thanks to the microtransaction model.

 

Honestly, it makes me think the people who bought the Atari name and have been running it into the ground just DO NOT know how to run a business, much less a game publisher.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

Hero Games/DOJ would be foolish to place their money in Cryptic. They should wait and buy back the Champions IP when it goes up at firesale prices.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

Hero Games/DOJ would be foolish to place their money in Cryptic. They should wait and buy back the Champions IP when it goes up at firesale prices.

 

Thirded......will save the Cryptic hate for later, heh....

 

~Rex

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

Cryptic is the only part of Atari's operations that is making any money at all.

 

 

According to that bit I quoted, Cryptic is losing money. Is there something there that I'm missing?

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

I think in the MMO production world, only being in the hole in the single digit millions, is making money in comparisson to being in the hole double digit millions..... So I suppose it should be something like, Cryptic isn't losing as much money as what they USED to be.....

 

~Rex

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

 

Honestly, it makes me think the people who bought the Atari name and have been running it into the ground just DO NOT know how to run a business, much less a game publisher.

 

Atari did that with the Jaguar debacle way back in '93. They didn't have a name to run into the ground by the time the current owners got it. No harm, no foul.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

Cryptic did generate an operating budget profit. THe majority of the startup costs for Champions has been paid already. While there's some continuing costs, the microtransaction model is starting to pay off for Cryptic.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

I think in the MMO production world, only being in the hole in the single digit millions, is making money in comparisson to being in the hole double digit millions..... So I suppose it should be something like, Cryptic isn't losing as much money as what they USED to be.....

 

~Rex

 

MMOs don't really need WoW-type numbers to be very profitable. They just have to not suck, and the makers need to understand that a bad launch -- which has become standard in the genre -- will kill their subs. Cryptic shot themselves in the foot the same way Warhammer did: Over ambitious goals not met at launch, with a crap game engine driving the whole mess. Both games are better now, but gamers tend not to be big on second chances when a company doesn't meet its pre-launch hype/promises. (WoW seems to be an exception, as they didn't meet two of their major design goals at launch, but aside from getting screwed by Oracle, the launch was very smooth for an MMO, and they didn't leave out nearly as much as, say, WAR did.)

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

MMOs don't really need WoW-type numbers to be very profitable. They just have to not suck' date=' and the makers need to understand that a bad launch -- which has become standard in the genre -- will kill their subs. Cryptic shot themselves in the foot the same way Warhammer did: Over ambitious goals not met at launch, with a crap game engine driving the whole mess. Both games are better now, but gamers tend not to be big on second chances when a company doesn't meet its pre-launch hype/promises. (WoW seems to be an exception, as they didn't meet two of their major design goals at launch, but aside from getting screwed by Oracle, the launch was very smooth for an MMO, and they didn't leave out nearly as much as, say, WAR did.)[/quote']

 

Agreed......I'm not defending Cryptic at all, what I was saying though it seems to be a common thing in the computer game industry, to say one is doing well just because one did not suck as much as they did the previous quarter, even though the number in question is still in the negative of millions.....

 

WOW, seems to make it's way on the addiction factor....hence it can trip and stumble here and there because where are the WOW people going to go?

 

I wished nothing but the best for Cryptic when the CO thing was going to roll out, crossed my fingers, prayed that it wouldn't be COH all over again, but like you said, terrible engine, crappy launch. *shrug* Microtransaction thing brought me back to it for awhile but then performance issues and lag stuff started to annoy me again (especially when it's the high end machine getting all the lag, while every other game works just fine)....

 

Games better.....cept for the Lag issues which i will track down eventually since who knows where they are coming from, micro transaction thing is the way to go obviously, and so far the folks chugging along with the champs and trek stuff seem to say all is good as far as those games..... So remains to be seen.

 

The chopping block action though, doesn't surprise me with the numbers that can be googled up. Like you said Cryptic shot themselves in the foot and with COH behind them, they shoulda known better.

 

~Rex

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

There is more to the story than just "Atari says Cryptic lost tons of money." In a more detailed article, Cryptic's turned a small profit. All those heavy losses are coming from startup costs for the MMOs. Those costs are now past. Atari, however, seems to have decided "To heck with making games to sell in stores, we're going to go with markets that have practically no development cost at all and hope it makes us a ton of money."

 

The other problem, though, and it's a big one: Steam is no longer selling CO on their store. Then again, that might be because the client is available for free.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

For my part, I don't like MMOs on the whole, so this is no loss to me. I hope this doesn't mean anything bad for DOJ. Hopefully, all the money has already changed hands and DOJ won't end up some sort of creditor.

 

I would eventually like to see all of the MMO stuff ripped out of the printed CU. I know it may prove me to be a grognard, but a lot of that stuff I just didn't like as much as the traditional interpretation. I just strip most of it out in my mind now when reading the books. For example, I hate the concept of Shadow Destroyer, but I use his stats for another mystic villain who is aligned with DEMON, so I don't feel like I wasted my money.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

In a more detailed article' date=' Cryptic's turned a small profit.[/quote']

 

Linkage?

 

All those heavy losses are coming from startup costs for the MMOs.

 

This makes more sense. Atari might be amortizing its start-up costs against some internal yield rate, and coming up with a loss. They're right, if that's what they're doing, it's a loss for them. If the studio is profitable, there's a chance that they could recoup some money faster by selling it off. I guess that might be what is happening.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

For my part, I don't like MMOs on the whole, so this is no loss to me. I hope this doesn't mean anything bad for DOJ. Hopefully, all the money has already changed hands and DOJ won't end up some sort of creditor.

 

I would eventually like to see all of the MMO stuff ripped out of the printed CU. I know it may prove me to be a grognard, but a lot of that stuff I just didn't like as much as the traditional interpretation. I just strip most of it out in my mind now when reading the books. For example, I hate the concept of Shadow Destroyer, but I use his stats for another mystic villain who is aligned with DEMON, so I don't feel like I wasted my money.

 

This.

 

I'm a big fan of the CU, and if I had any time for an MMO, I might dive into CO. But only if my nephews and nieces start playing it. And they're not, because CO can't get any traction. There's problems with the product, to be sure, but story problems were consistently highlighted by early reviewers.

 

And I think that there's a reason for that. Bad gameplay can be overcome. CO as launched had fun things to do; that it needed more, and better, and fewer problems with lag or whatnot, could have been overcome. What people sensed immediately is that An MMO needs immersion, and CO lacked that. Which is crazy. Immersion is driven by good character-driven stories, deep mythology, and lots and lots of flashy conflict. A well-executed superhero worlds ought to be better at this than the D&D worlds that have had the run of the industry so far. You can root character motivations in real world contexts, do pop culture jokes with less stretching, and duck the whole "is genocide against an inherently evil race still immoral" thing that really drags down attempts to switch story arcs in a D&D clone from light to serious and back.

 

It's hard for me to comment on why CoH has failed to take on WoW. But the reasons for CU's failure on the story front are no secret. The Cryptic Studio people kept doing dumb things! For example: Ironclad had a sword, but everyone knew the first rule of superhero weapons. Superheroes don't cut people. They have clubs, whips, hammers, boomerangs, but never sharp things. Oh, you have Errol Flynn types with swords, but that's a style thing. It's always the flat of the blade. Claws, teeth, spikes, spines are worse, because they're organic. Then there was the great exception, Wolverine, and constant failures since to underline the uniqueness of the character.

 

So what did Cryptic do? Give a brick a sword. Of all archetypes.... And let's meditate on the fact that the CU has a breakout character who might actually work as a brick with a sword --Cateran. Sexy kilt, claymore, formerly featured art on the DOJ boards. How could you miss this? How? It's like Cryptic Studios hung out an "I'm with stupid" sign on their development team. I gather that they've done a great deal to fix this, but at this point a new ownership group is needed, if only to purge the taint.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

So what did Cryptic do? Give a brick a sword. Of all archetypes.... And let's meditate on the fact that the CU has a breakout character who might actually work as a brick with a sword --Cateran. Sexy kilt, claymore, formerly featured art on the DOJ boards. How could you miss this? How? It's like Cryptic Studios hung out an "I'm with stupid" sign on their development team. I gather that they've done a great deal to fix this, but at this point a new ownership group is needed, if only to purge the taint.

 

They gave him a sword cause he's a gladiator.

And I never saw him use it in the very brief encounter I had with him.

 

However, I can't stand some of their redesigns.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

For my part, I don't like MMOs on the whole, so this is no loss to me. I hope this doesn't mean anything bad for DOJ. Hopefully, all the money has already changed hands and DOJ won't end up some sort of creditor.

 

Have no fear, Cryptic owes us nothing but the odd bits of free art they occasionally generate. DOJ is in no danger here. We still have many friends over there, though, and certainly hope everything works out well for them. dw

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

Well, the concern for Cryptic is not if it's turning a profit on the books, but the change in its cash levels from year to year. Now that the game is launched, they can amortize the startup expenses for the game out over several years. That money has been spent.

 

The cash outlays now are for staff, equipment and any further development costs for expanding the game. If the cash needs for those present and future expense items are covered by their customer base paying them for things through micro-transactions and monthly fees, then they can run at a loss on their books for years and still be functional as a company.

 

If their cash levels are good, they aren't going to close their doors.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

Have no fear' date=' Cryptic owes us nothing but the odd bits of free art they occasionally generate. DOJ is in no danger here. We still have many friends over there, though, and certainly hope everything works out well for them. dw[/quote']

 

Nice to know.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

They gave him a sword cause he's a gladiator.

And I never saw him use it in the very brief encounter I had with him.

 

However, I can't stand some of their redesigns.

 

It's one of those things I ignore. In the published writeup, I just get rid of the focus limitation and call it "Steel Fists", and have him use it to smash walls and robots and other stuff that can take it.

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Re: Atari unloading Cryptic Studios

 

In my spread out group of people, the hate for Ironclad was mighty indeed and it became Universal when he was Cryptified (similar reaction to Defender-Tron)......Then again a lot of these people also miss Jaguar and we assume that back in the day, the Real Champions were all trapped on a desert Island and Jaguar Ate them all.....

 

In my Sunday CU game (One of the few good things about the MMO is it let me give my computer orientated rookies something of a visual starting point they can "get", especially the d20 folks and WoW addicts amongst them), I've got a few things planned out where Ironclad has his sword Stolen and the party (who has a sword nut character in it), has to get it back. Hence, I can remove an annoying sheet aspect in points and do the Steel Fists thing or a brick trick kinda thing down the road if I need to.....

 

 

Some of the Crptified stuff isn't bad, the rest (Like Shadow Destroyer), remind me of a Hollywood "Good Idea"...better left unsaid and untried.

 

Hopefully they get picked up by someone else though, I see bits of potential in there in the last few things they've done since going micro transaction and F2P set up with the MMO and I'm curious as to where it will go. Regardless of what folks want to amortize or what not though, going from negative *Insert double digit millions in loss here* to *Insert single digit in millions of loss here*, is still a big giant hole one shovels money into, and not a good thing if what you are looking to do, is have a positive number at the end of the day. Lot of moving and shaking with the name and actions of Atari if you follow the trail from the beginning through the Hasbro Interactive Stuff and the buy out by Infogrames over in France.

 

Should be an interesting thing to follow as it unfolds.

 

~Rex

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